Yoshihiko Noda speaks candidly on his blog: Fukushima to Wakayama
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks candidly and openly about his first week in office on his blog and he must be a little spellbound by the speed of events. This does not only apply to being the new leader of Japan but to the reality of concerns at the moment.
PM Noda visited the disaster areas which were hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami and the sad legacy of the nuclear crisis which continues in Fukushima. Not only this, he also visited areas hit by the recent typhoon and saw the devastation at first hand. All of this will have hit home to PM Noda the reality of the ongoing problems that many people face in Japan in areas hit by natural disasters. Also, in the case of Fukushima it is part “man-made” or fully “man-made” depending on your thinking but nature triggered this crisis and human failings added to the nightmare.
Therefore, the new leader of Japan could be forgiven if he thought he was in a war stricken country with so much devastation happening this year in Japan. However, this is not the case because this is the reality of the potent forces of nature which have killed tens of thousands of people in Japan this year.
The new leader of Japan took office on September 2 and immediately he focused on understanding the “real needs” of people who have suffered so much. On September 8 he visited Fukushima and this was followed by visiting Mie, Nara, and Wakayama, the following day and on September 10 the new leader of Japan visited Miyagi and Iwate.
During his visit to Fukushima he inspected TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the protective clothing will have brought home to him how brave the workers are and how loyal they are. PM Noda commented that “The devoted efforts of the workers at the site are supporting this country. With these feelings of appreciation, I encouraged the persons involved to the fullest extent of my power.”
PM Noda also witnessed how locals in Date are trying to decontaminate radioactive materials and on September 9 further funds were promised with the announcement of a 220 billion yen budget aimed at the decontamination of radioactivity. He also stressed the need for the central government to cooperate with local municipalities and to target this funding on areas which had been designated for evacuation.
PM Noda also told the Governor of Fukushima, Yuhei Sato, that “Without the revival of Fukushima, there can be no revitalization of a vibrant Japan.” Yuhei Sato relayed important information and requests were stated in order to restore faith in Fukushima. It is also important for the central government to relate to local politicians and people who have been hit by this tragedy and this meeting was a good way to show the sincerity of the new Cabinet.
The visit to Mie, Nara, and Wakayama, on September 9 applies to the devastation and loss of life caused by Typhoon Talas. PM Noda commented that “I felt very poignantly the depth of the traces of the damage from Typhoon 12 and the horror of the concentrated heavy rain and landslides. I instructed that, with lifesaving as the foremost priority, all-out efforts are to be made towards emergency countermeasures for this disaster, including the relief and rescue of the victims, that it is imperative to strive to grasp the situation of damage in a rapid and accurate manner, and that efforts are to be made with a sense of urgency, in cooperation with the related prefectural offices and local authorities.”
The prime minister also met Mayor Teramoto of Nachikatsuura who lost his daughter to the destructive typhoon and on September 9 his wife had still not been found. PM Noda was deeply impressed by Mayor Teramoto because while politicians are often lambasted you also see the human face and real bravery of individuals like Mayor Teramoto.
The following day took the prime minister to Iwate and Miyagi and in Rikuzentakata (Iwate) the leader of Japan saw the utter devastation that was created by the tsunami. In the fishing port of Kesennuma a more optimistic note was seen because the fishing sector is starting again and PM Noda commented that he “…could feel vitality towards reconstruction” and that “the critical issues for my Cabinet are recovery and reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, including bringing the situation at the nuclear plant under stable control.”
The new leader of Japan is under no illusions about the problems that he and his Cabinet faces and he also appears to be more determined to focus on the debt issue. The mass media in Japan is mainly unforgiving but the early steps by the new leader of Japan show compassion, sincerity, the need to listen to people on the ground and a call to collective responsibility.
http://nodasblog.kantei.go.jp/ – Prime Minister of Japan – Yoshihiko Noda’s blog